Thursday, October 25, 2012

Most Useful Information on Twitter So Far

One of the people I follow on Twitter informed us today that "not my problem" translates into the Polish idiom "Nie moj cyrk nie moje malpy."  Literally:  "Not my circus.  Not my Monkey."

Thank you Poland.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Learn to Love Me, Assemble the Ways

    Sooo.  Saw Morrissey tonight in Burlington.  A few post concert observations before bed: a lot of it was assaultive, but in a good way (mostly).  There was some sonic activity that I can't quite explain or make sense of; a lot of film clips of bad TV variety acts of the 60s and early 70s with horrible audio - a group called "The Sparks" sang (in their 1974 pants) about not turning your back on your mother while Dutch subtitles explained something about the Sparks' career ups and downs (I could puzzle out just that much, though it may not have been Dutch...).  A long-bangs-60s-girl-singer rode through  Leicester Square? Picadilly Circus? apparently on the top of a bus or van and mouthed the words to a banal 60s song.  An extremely low tone was blasted through the house at one point and made me fear for the building's structural integrity.  Pity the poor non-Morrissey fan who may have stumbled in... esp. for the slaughterhouse sequence that played on the screen during a protracted red-lit version of Meat is Murder.  But I was ready for him, and I mostly just loved it.

One big thing is that Morrissey can sing.  His voice is right there where it was when I was shouting over it in bars on Saturday nights in the 1980s.  Also, there is something terribly authentic about him.  I sense that other (bigger) stars, like Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson, would probably be a little afraid of him or feel intimidated.  Still, I am guessing he must really need money to be doing such a tour and he's not above putting his face on $30 T shirts (yes, I bought one).  How does he do it?  Be the artist apart and shill like this?

Also, he actually looked great - that vegetarian diet begins to really work its magic when one hits one's mid 50s.  And the crowd was full of (young) fans (bolstered, one suspects, by recreational pharmaceuticals) who kept leaping on stage to try and hug this charming man.  

The show was very disciplined and professional.  Plenty of money had been spent on excellent musicians.  Morrissey was working (and sweating) out there.  As much as I liked the music I also liked pondering the man himself.  I kept thinking, as the show progressed, of (bear with me) Stewie Griffin from Family Guy.  I could imagine Morrissey coming to consciousness as a child (a la Stewie) realizing that life means death and lots of suffering before death and being extremely pissed and unresolved to any such system.  "You mean I'm going to die and everyone and everything I ever loved will die too?  Whose crappy idea was that? I'm not having that. It sucks and I'll never stop saying so."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Head Cases We Love...

Morrissey sang the soundtrack of my life from the mid 80s to the mid 90s so when I heard he was coming to Burlington, VT of all places, I immediately bought tickets.  I figured it would sell out in a minute.  Well, the show's tomorrow and I just checked.  Seats still available.  His Radio City show was sold out a couple of nights ago so I'm a little embarrassed for Vermont but, fact is, we really aren't that edgy or miserable around here (present company excepted).  I'm going with my old boss.  She has no idea who he is but I'm happy she wanted to go.  My usual-suspect concert friends were not interested.  ??  Check back for a little review.  Meanwhile, here's Morrissey looking miserable on Colbert - like he would jump out of his skin if he could and it didn't violate his vegetarian principles.  Also for your viewing pleasure, sounding great (and looking a bit like late-stage Elvis) on Jimmy Fallon.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Do Not Finger the Ornaments"

I have never actually dived into a dumpster, but I have leaned.

 This week I reached waaaay into the enormous reinforced cardboard box at the town dump that is the last stop for books before they hit the print equivalent of the glue factory. Admittedly, my motives were less Panda rescue and more "hmmm maybe-something-for-ebay." (My first fishing expedition in that box resulted in a a first edition hippie lit classic that I sold for $250).
No valuables this time but I did come up with a couple of things that made my life this week better. One was The Essential Handbook of Victorian Entertaining "adapted by" Autumn Stephens (Bluewood Books 2005). It had tea cups on its ironic (practically new) cover so, I thought that ought to be good.

The other called to me, "I'm Old! And I think you know me!" I had a thing for Edna St. Vincent Millay as a teenager.  When I was a high school senior, my good Dad and I took a mini road trip to Austerlitz, NY in search of her home, which had been converted into a writer's colony. (That was the kind of fun 18-year-old that I was). I had plenty of Edna's poetry on my particle board bookshelves all through college and still have it somewhere. This dumpster copy was unmarked, having lost the label on its spine, but sure enough it was 1921's Second April. More on that in a minute.

 Etiquette books of the past are always fun. In college I picked up an Emily Post from the 1930s from another box of discards. I wish I had kept it. I laughed myself hoarse at the time. Victorian times guaranteed charmingly obsolete advice. Here are few of my favorites from my dumpster find:

  Never sit gazing curiously around the room during a visit as if taking a mental inventory of the furniture. 

Do not finger the ornaments.

  To be especially avoided by gentleman callers: Do not use a classical quotation in front of the ladies without apologizing for, or translating it. Do not leave your hat and riding whip in the hall, but take both into the drawing room. To do otherwise would be to make yourself too much at home.

  Young ladies seldom drink more than three glasses of wine at dinner: but married ladies who are engaged in a profession, such as authors and teachers, and those accustomed to society and the habits of affluence, will habitually take five or even six...

 I was taken aback by how much good common sense and, actual excellent manners were commended. "If you have more than one guest in your house, those of the humblest condition are to receive as much attention as the rest." "Do not parade the fact that you traveled in foreign countries." "Do not boast that you are acquainted with distinguished or wealthy people."  Of course, not fingering the ornaments is also sound advice today.

 After all this I'm embarrassed to admit that I have found this book to be perfect bathroom reading.

 Moving onto Edna St. V. M.: I got around to reading a few of the poems this afternoon (home with a cold, seeking a nap) and found a lot to (still) love. How has history judged Edna Millay? A minor major poet? Vice versa? Say what you will, she is from the poetic school of poetry and I like that one. Anyone who could compose:

 Red with heat was every wall,
 Rough with heat was every wire.

 Is going to get my admiration. (from "The Blue Flag in the Bog"). And, girls, how about this:


 I know what my heart is like 
Since your love died: 
It is like a hollow ledge 
Holding a little pool 
Left there by the tide, 
A little tepid pool, 
Drying inward from the edge.

 The book smells like someone dropped it under a shed and covered it with a plank sometime around Pearl Harbor Day - but that sort of adds to its charm for me. It's old and old fashioned. It's printed so that you can see the impression of the type on the thick deckle-edged paper. As per the bookplate, it came out of the library (at some point) of  Sylvia who once attended Colby Junior College for Women. Doesn't it seem criminal for Edna and Sylvia to let this be pulped?  Hmmm. Maybe Panda rescue after all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Nominations Are Open! Riff Raff Capital of America

I'm thinking of states, but I suppose there are cities and regions that can also compete. There are a few that are blindingly obvious gold medal contenders and frankly no place in the upper Mid-West, the top edge, or the upper corners of the country (on either coast) need apply. I wouldn't want people to think that I have pre-judged this thing, but I will tell you that my sister has a new neighbor. She lives in a gated community and the faux-Spanish mansions there still cost about a million apiece, despite the real estate slough (which has been notably disastrous in this state, which - just one more clue - is shaped like a penis). One of these little duke-doms has just been bought by the owner of a local casino. (Pause). The casino owner's five-year-old son was apparently tearing around the development on his four-wheeler yesterday and when the 80-something yearold lady who lives across the street noted that this was unsafe, illegal, and bad for property values, the casino owner threatened her. What have you got?